Save your politically minded sitcom controversies for ABC’s Tuesday night. On The Big Bang Theory, presidential conflict goes no further than the apartment building at 2311 North Los Robles Avenue, home of Sheldon, Amy, Leonard, and Penny.
The spark of discord amongst the friends? Sheldon reveals that he is the president, only member, and harshest critic of the building’s tenant board. No one, it seems, knew there was a board, let alone that Sheldon is the person who has been enforcing policies like laundry-room curfews.
Frankly, they had little reason to care, until the rules stickler messed with a food truck. During the regular Friday-night dinner gathering in Leonard and Penny’s apartment — a night that is always, as per Sheldon, reserved for Chinese food — Penny wanders in late, carrying a pastrami sandwich from the food truck parked in front of 2311. The smell of the meat treat has everyone craving their own sammies, save Sheldon, who demands his friends continue to honor the tradition of Chinese food on Fridays. When certain members go against his takeout wishes, Sheldon uses the heretofore unknown power he wields as tenant prez to decree the pastrami truck can no longer park on his block.
That prompts Penny and Leonard to challenge Sheldon’s leadership, with Leonard determined to oust President Cooper and install himself as new building honcho. Thus begins a battle between Team Leonard and Penny and Sheldon, with Amy dragged in the middle, especially after Sheldon invites her into his personal shower space if she votes for him.
Eventually, it’s also Amy who dooms his presidency, when she secretly arms Penny and Leonard by pointing out that since Sheldon moved across the hall, he is no longer on his old lease … and only Amy signed the lease for the apartment she and Sheldon now share. Which means he’s technically no longer a tenant. But twist! Sheldon knows the law — of course he does — and it states that anyone who lives in an apartment for 30 consecutive days is a tenant at will. So, aha!
Except, another twist! Amy votes for Leonard to be president, because she thinks her fiancé has gone power mad. “I’m sorry, Sheldon, but with minimal power comes minimal responsibility,” Amy says. “And you couldn’t handle it!”
But don’t count Sheldon out, or Leonard as the winner. Sheldon decides he’ll go along with this new regime. “Instead of being in charge, I can be the vocal opposition,” he reasons. “Criticizing and badgering the president at every turn.”
“I think you’ll be really good at that,” Amy says.
Sheldon: “Me, too.”
“I think I made a huge mistake,” Leonard says.
Penny: “Me, too.”
This all raises several questions. First, how official is this tenant board? No one but Sheldon knows it exists with him at the helm, yet he somehow has the power to, on its behalf, demand a food truck not only disappear from in front of the building, but from the whole block?
Also, okay, he manages to create this tenant association, elect himself as its president, then enact and enforce certain petty regulations. When his power play worked, shouldn’t he have used his position to do something actually important, like, say, order the repair of the building elevator, the one that’s been busted since before the series began?
Also, why does no one in the building complain about that elevator? Again, it’s been broken since before the series began (courtesy of Leonard’s rocket-fuel experiment gone bad, as we learned via flashback in season three’s “The Staircase Implementation”). It’s a nice building with nice apartments in a nice part of Pasadena. None of those tenants have made a fuss about being sans working elevator in all these years?
Meanwhile, as the Sheldon versus Leonard tenant-board skirmish wages on, Howard and Raj have their own shenanigans unfolding in the Wolowitz backyard. A hot-tub relaxation session ends when the pals find a drone that has crashed into some bushes on Howard’s property. Howard fixes it and pairs it with his own controller, but just as he and Raj are about to play, Bernie suggests they should at least try to find its owner, using the HD video camera attached.
It works! The owner turns out to be an attractive female who frequents Stuart’s comic-book shop, and who, Raj assumes, can not only afford expensive gadgets, but is willing to spend her money on expensive gadgets. He pleads with Howard to allow him to return the drone, and when he does, the owner is friendly, grateful, and personally inputs her digits into Raj’s phone when he asks for her number as his reward for returning the lost drone.
Once again, Raj thinks he might have found The One. And maybe he has … until she watches her drone video, which includes footage of Raj talking about wanting to impregnate her and plotting the underwear he’ll sport on their first date: none.
• Penny thinks pastrami is spelled with a “y” … where would it go? Pystrami? Pastramy?